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Internet spurs home-made cartoons

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-15 10:52

BEIJING - A domestic cartoon has raised 1.19 million yuan ($194,000) through online donations and payments, illustrating the power of the Internet and its role in the cartoon industry.

"100,000 Bad Jokes," a series that includes 11 five-minute long episodes, has now had more than 500 million clicks after it premiered in July 2012.

The series is adapted from the traditional Chinese cartoon called the Seven Brothers of Calabash. The new cartoon consists of seven characters that try to save their fathers from snake spirits. (The cartoon was created by netizen "Hanwu" and shown on the online platform "Youyaoqi")

Neither Hanwu, an IT programmer, nor Youyaoqi anticipated such success.

Youyaoqi offers opportunities for those wanting to create their own animated cartoons. Nearly 10,000 cartoonists have registered with more than 20,000 pieces of work published.

Zhou Jingqi, 31, founder of Youyaoqi, classes himself as a "rule breaker" for not following in the footsteps of the country's stereotyped cartoon industry, as cartoonists primarily counted on magazines and then waited to see if they would be turned into film.

China's cartoon industry previously operated as a mere "manufacturer" of foreign animated products, winning little global recognition, according to Zhou.

"Internet now rules," said Zhou. "The Internet is a platform allowing authors to communicate with the audience directly."

On the platform, the paying audience can watch latest chapters in advance. They can also vote for favorites and provide comments, which in return attracts more viewers.

Zhou said, "Some people are skeptical of our business. No one has ever done it. Do cartoon makers like to put productions online? Would they go on to do that? How often do you update your series?"

However, problems involving the profit model have emerged.

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